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DOJ Charges Dozens Of Chinese Officials For Allegedly Harassing, Persecuting Dissidents In US

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York unsealed a pair of criminal complaints against 44 Chinese agents for allegedly harassing Chinese dissidents based in the United States, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.

The two efforts allegedly involved over 40 members of China’s national police department, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), and two members of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), who used fraudulent social media accounts on an unnamed U.S. platform to “harass and intimidate” Chinese citizens who promoted political views that were opposed by the Chinese government, the DOJ said in a press release.

Beyond harassing and attempting to suppress the free speech rights of Chinese nationals based in the U.S., one complaint also alleges that members of the MPS created articles and videos to target both Chinese dissidents and the U.S. government.

“These cases demonstrate the lengths the PRC government will go to silence and harass U.S. persons who exercise their fundamental rights to speak out against PRC oppression, including by unlawfully exploiting a U.S.-based technology company,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division said in the agency’s press release. “These actions violate our laws and are an affront to our democratic values and basic human rights.”

The DOJ also announced that it was amending a previous complaint made against Xinjiang Jin, also known as Julien Jin, to include 10 individuals for conspiracy to commit interstate harassment and censor dissidents’ political speech, particularly efforts to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace has recused himself from this case, with a spokesman from his office citing a conflict of interest stemming from his work in private practice, although the exact nature of this conflict of interest was not immediately clear.

All defendants named in the complaints remain at large, according to the DOJ.

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